Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-vii
  2. Owen Davies, Francesca Matteoni
    Pages 1-10 Open Access
  3. Owen Davies, Francesca Matteoni
    Pages 11-27 Open Access
  4. Owen Davies, Francesca Matteoni
    Pages 29-52 Open Access
  5. Owen Davies, Francesca Matteoni
    Pages 53-79 Open Access
  6. Owen Davies, Francesca Matteoni
    Pages 81-105 Open Access
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 107-118

About this book


This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license

This book explores the magical and medical history of executions from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century by looking at the afterlife potency of criminal corpses, the healing activities of the executioner, and the magic of the gallows site. The use of corpses in medicine and magic has been recorded back into antiquity. The lacerated bodies of Roman gladiators were used as a source of curative blood, for instance. In early modern Europe, a great trade opened up in ancient Egyptian mummies and the fat of executed criminals, plundered as medicinal cure-alls. However, this is the first book to consider the demand for the blood of the executed, the desire for human fat, the resort to the hanged man’s hand, and the trade in hanging rope in the modern era. It ends by look at the spiritual afterlife of dead criminals.


Open Access medical humanities criminal corpse capital punishment witchcraft and magic execution

Authors and affiliations

  • Owen Davies
    • 1
  • Francesca Matteoni
    • 2
  1. 1.University of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.PistoiaItaly

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • License CC BY
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-59518-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-59519-1
  • Buy this book on publisher's site